Nicaragua: Democratic economic governance in the Water and Sanitation sector in the RAAN and RAAS
Less than 20% of people living in Nicaragua's Northern and Southern Autonomous Administrative Regions, home to many indigenous communities, have access to drinking water and adequate sanitation. The goal of the Joint Programme was to increase sustainable access to water and sanitation for poor population groups by strengthening democratic economic governance in the water and sanitation sector.
It achieved this objective by increasing participation and coordination between social and institutional actors, and by strengthening institutional frameworks and investment in infrastructure. It worked at the community, municipal (eight priority municipalities and three urban areas), regional and national level.
The Programme's objectives were to:
- Empower communities;
- Reduce capacity gaps and support local management;
- Improve quality of and access to services; and
- Support institutional, legal and regulatory revision processes.
Main achievements included:
- Development of national policies related to the water sector, like the National Water Resources Policy and the National Water Fund, which improved access to basic water and sanitation services. This instrument helped harmonize and align interventions in the sector, mobilizing additional funds for the program and complementing regional, municipal and community financial resources to develop water and sanitation projects in 31 communities in 4 public centers for health and education.
- Greater involvement of communities in the management and operation of water and sanitation projects through the strengthening of the Water and Sanitation Committees and municipal networks.
- Involvement of community leaders in municipal strategic planning and the development of Municipal Action and Investment Plans for Water and Sanitation.
- Technical training, technical support and the creation of operational tools to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of managing the sector at different levels of government. Two regional and five municipal technical units were been set up for water and sanitation.
- Establishment of an "entrepreneurial builders" training program in which young men and women from local communities are trained and certified in construction and plumbing.